What Effect Does Female Autonomy Have on
Child Health?
Microeconometric Evidence from Rural India

Kazuya Wada

August 2011


This study investigates the effects of an improvement in female autonomy on children's welfare in the developing world, taking into consideration intra-household resource allocation through decision-making processes within households. Using a female autonomy index constructed from India's 1998/99 National Family Health Survey, the study tries to capture women's bargaining power and examine the effects on children's health and medical condition. The results of the empirical analysis suggest that often, though not always, children's health and medical condition can be enhanced by improving female autonomy. In addition, the results also imply that fostering female autonomy may play a crucial role in achieving economic development from a long-term perspective.

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